Bank Holiday Monday and a glorious day. The urge to go and explore somewhere new and to seek out some fun geocaches.
I’d heard that a trail in Hatfield forest – Runaround’s ramble was good fun and as it’s not too far away from home decided to give it a go.
Having never visited the forest before I was initially blown away by how amazing it was. I’m a big fan of forests so easily pleased, but this place is awesome and so unlike those young whippersnapper forests closer to home with their uniform rows of regularly spaced trees.
The children were having a blast exploring, climbing and generally frolicking in the woods.
I might have got a little grumpy after a while as I had a geocaching itch that needed scratching.
Come on guys you’ve climbed every single tree so far, can I not go and find one little cache?
They knew we were going to follow a geotrail but I’d intentionally not given away how cool the caches were. I wanted to blow those little minds with geocaching awesomeness.
Should they ever stop climbing trees of course…
Then they were distracted by the rowing boats.
‘MUM! Can we go on a boat?’
Gah! Rowboats don’t really float my boat.
‘but, but geocaches…..’ My killjoy response.
Pleading, begging, whining. (The kids, not me.)
Mr Muddy takes on the role of good cop; ‘I’ll take you when mum’s next away.’
Oh goody! I get to go on holiday again! 😉
Eventually I get my own way and we head across the forest to the geotrail. I’m a little stroppy and feeling like a complete and utter killjoy.
Hmm, just wait until see that first cache!
I stroll ahead following the GPSr, keen to get going and with the strategy that if everybody is trying to keep up they won’t get distracted anymore.
Clearly I should however be paying more attention to my surroundings as I plough straight through a ridiculously muddy puddle. The photo doesn’t do it justice.
I sank, fast. Great!
As I’m a fair way ahead I don’t think anybody noticed. Phew!
As the team follow up behind I hear much amusement as they reach the puddle and spot the footprints.
‘Ha ha, look. Someone REALLY sank in there!’
*Wipes feet nonchantly on the grass*
Eventually we arrive at the first cache. A really cool modified bird box on a tree, which you have to figure out how to open. We find a hidden key which opens a drawer on the box. Inside a bag of balloons. The idea being to insert the balloon and inflate it to open the cache. The team are in awe.
See guys! You get it now? Better than rowboats? No? ok.
Mr muddy was getting stuck in with the action for which I am incredibly grateful. I’ve rummaged in quite a few geocaches now and put it this way, brand new or not something from a geocache is never going in my mouth. 😷
Now I finally had the team on board we whipped through the caches, a range of unique challenges. Easy to find but requiring a bit of thought to get in.
We came across our first cryptex cache which required us to enter a code to access the log inside. I instantly regret not having looked at the cache descriptions before leaving home. We don’t know the code and 3G and Google have made a sharp exit. Drat!
As I start trying random numbers Mr Muddy marches off across the forest and thankfully it’s not long before he’s hollering a combination of numbers across the forest which luckily gets us in.
The trouble with it being a bank holiday and a popular trail is that several other cachers were about and at times we were Leapfrogging caches and cachers as we went, I don’t want to actually talk to anybody. Heaven forbid.
In all fairness they didn’t want to engage either, much nonchalant phone glancing ‘we aren’t cachers’ bluffing going on, whilst I’m blatantly marching around with my GPS giving them looks to say ‘you know, I know, I know you know.’
They did however I notice check out my caches online later on – I told you they knew!
My favourite find of the day, a bird box covered in numbers. Cleverly a code is concealed within the numbers to open the combination lock. The family looked on perplexed whilst I marched straight up to the cache and rattled off the code.
Obviously I’m a genius and have never ever seen a hide of this kind on YouTube. 😉
The trail was great fun and we soon finished all the caches. Luckily there were plenty of others to be found in the forest so as we made our way back through we picked up finds in my usual, random, illogical fashion.
One of the hides based on or near a bridge – what sort of idiot even places geocaches on a bridge? I’m kidding, I do!
It was proving troublesome but the kids were having a blast playing in the stream.
I’m a terrible cacher in the fact I get bored and give up really quickly. Watching the children was much more fun, especially as they got more daring. There was only ever going to be one outcome.
Yep, with a loud squeal the boy went for a dip. An absolute drenching from head to toe. I did what any kind and caring parent would do and laughed.
Then took a photo.
Three ridiculously muddy children to take home but if you can’t get covered in mud and frolic in a stream as a child, well what a sorry world that is.
A soaking wet child however did mean our fun for the day was over, a rather amusing walk back to the car as the young man announced to everybody he met: ‘It’s ok, I fell in the river!’
Just in case they hadn’t noticed…
The caching over, well apart from one sneaky Travelbug hotel on the way – well it would be rude not to wouldn’t it?